Houston City Council Votes To Join SB 4 Lawsuit

People with United We Dream celebrate after council members voted to join the lawsuit against SB4 during a City Council meeting at City Hall Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Houston. Photo: Godofredo A. Vasquez, Houston Chronicle / Godofredo A. Vasquez

After a contentious city council public session yesterday that featured over 200 impassioned speakers, several state legislators along with weeks of grassroots pressure to do the right thing, they Houston City Council finally got off the sidelines and into the legal game on SB 4.

Houston is home to according to the Pew Research Center the third largest population of undocumented immigrants in the US behind New York and Los Angeles.

On a 10-6 vote with one abstention in CM Jack Christie, Council voted to join the lawsuit filed by Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso County, several local governments, and nonprofit organizations in a  consolidated suit against the state of Texas over its racist and unjust SB 4 law that gets a hearing on Monday in San Antonio.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said prior to the vote,” This it not an issue of our choosing, but when it ends up on your plate, you have to address it

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Mayor Turner was one of the ten YES votes in addition to Councilmembers Dwight Boykins, Karla Cisneros, Ellen Cohen, Jerry Davis, Amanda Edwards, Robert Gallegos, Larry Green, Mike Laster and David Robinson.

Voting NO in opposition to joining the lawsuit were Councilmembers Mike Knox, Michael Kubosh, Steve Le, Dave Martin, Greg Travis and Brenda Stardig.

It was also laughable to hear the conservative councilmembers hypocritically whine about taking laws you don’t like to court when you lose legislatively because that’s exactly what they did to stymie implementation of and eventually kill the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

The vote came after the majority of the citizens who came to City Hall yesterday to offer five hours of testimony, urged council to join the lawsuit.

SB 4 was recently signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) an allow police if they stop someone to inquire about their immigration status.   It also threatens sheriffs and police chiefs who refuse federal requests to hold immigrants detained for other alleged crimes with jail time and fines for non-compliance with the unjust law.

Unless SB 4 is declared unconstitutional in federal or state court, it will take effect on September 1.

Here’s hoping that happens.

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